The existence of God. A dialogue. In three chapters.

ISBN 13: 9781499793215
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Old Man: Are you, then, a philologian, but no lover of deeds or of truth? And do you not aim at being a practical man so much as being a sophist? Justin: What greater work could one accomplish than this, to show the reason which governs all, and having laid hold of it, and being mounted upon it, to look down on the errors of others, and their pursuits? But without philosophy and right reason, prudence would not be present to any man.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Wherefore it is necessary for every man to philosophize, and to esteem this the greatest and most honourable work; but other things only of second-rate or third-rate importance, though, indeed, if they be made to depend on philosophy , they are of moderate value, and worthy of acceptance; but deprived of it, and not accompanying it, they are vulgar and coarse to those who pursue them. Old Man Interrupting : Does philosophy , then, make happiness? Old Man: What, then, is philosophy? And what is happiness?

Pray tell me, unless something hinders you from saying. Justin: Philosophy, then, is the knowledge of that which really exists, and a clear perception of the truth ; and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and wisdom. Justin: That which always maintains the same nature, and in the same manner, and is the cause of all other things— that, indeed, is God. Old Man: Is not knowledge a term common to different matters? For in arts of all kinds, he who knows any one of them is called a skilful man in the art of generalship, or of ruling, or of healing equally.

Is God the Best Explanation of Things? - A Dialogue | Joshua Rasmussen | Palgrave Macmillan

But in divine and human affairs it is not so. Is there a knowledge which affords understanding of human and divine things, and then a thorough acquaintance with the divinity and the righteousness of them? Old Man: What, then?

Is it in the same way we know man and God , as we know music, and arithmetic, and astronomy, or any other similar branch? Old Man: You have not answered me correctly, then, for some [branches of knowledge ] come to us by learning, or by some employment, while of others we have knowledge by sight.

Ontological argument

Now, if one were to tell you that there exists in India an animal with a nature unlike all others, but of such and such a kind, multiform and various, you would not know it before you saw it; but neither would you be competent to give any account of it, unless you should hear from one who had seen it. Old Man: How, then, should the philosophers judge correctly about God , or speak any truth , when they have no knowledge of Him, having neither seen Him at any time, nor heard Him? Justin: But, father, the Deity cannot be seen merely by the eyes, as other living beings can, but is discernible to the mind alone, as Plato says; and I believe him.

Old Man: Is there, then, such and so great power in our mind?

Or can a man not perceive by sense sooner? Will the mind of man see God at any time, if it is uninstructed by the Holy Spirit?

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Justin: Plato indeed says that the mind's eye is of such a nature, and has been given for this end, that we may see that very Being when the mind is pure itself, who is the cause of all discerned by the mind , having no color, no form, no greatness— nothing, indeed, which the bodily eye looks upon; but It is something of this sort, he goes on to say, that is beyond all essence , unutterable and inexplicable, but alone honourable and good, coming suddenly into souls well-dispositioned, on account of their affinity to and desire of seeing Him.

Old Man: What affinity, then, is there between us and God? Is the soul also divine and immortal , and a part of that very regal mind? And even as that sees God , so also is it attainable by us to conceive of the Deity in our mind , and thence to become happy? Old Man: And do all the souls of all living beings comprehend Him? Or are the souls of men of one kind and the souls of horses and of asses of another kind? Justin: No. But the souls which are in all are similar.

Old Man: Then, shall both horses and asses see, or have they seen at some time or other, God. Justin: No, for the majority of men will not, saving such as shall live justly , purified by righteousness, and by every other virtue.

Biology and the Existence of God (Dialogue with the people of Logic - Part 1 - Fourth Lecture)

Old Man: It is not, therefore, on account of his affinity, that a man sees God , nor because he has a mind , but because he is temperate and righteous? Old Man: If these animals could assume speech, be well assured that they would with greater reason ridicule our body; but let us now dismiss this subject, and let it be conceded to you as you say. Tell me, however, this: Does the soul see [God] so long as it is in the body, or after it has been removed from it?

Justin: So long as it is in the form of a man , it is possible for it to attain to this by means of the mind; but especially when it has been set free from the body, and being apart by itself, it gets possession of that which it was wont continually and wholly to love. Old Man: Does it remember this, then [the sight of God ], when it is again in the man? Old Man: What, then, is the advantage to those who have seen [God]?

Or what has he who has seen more than he who has not seen, unless he remember this fact, that he has seen? Old Man: And what do those suffer who are judged to be unworthy of this spectacle? Justin: They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment. Old Man: Do they know , then, that it is for this reason they are in such forms, and that they have committed some sin? Old Man: Then these reap no advantage from their punishment, as it seems: moreover, I would say that they are not punished unless they are conscious of the punishment.

Old Man: Therefore souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies; for they would know that so they are punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards. But that they can perceive that God exists, and that righteousness and piety are honourable , I also quite agree with you. Old Man: These philosophers know nothing, then, about these things; for they cannot tell what a soul is. Old Man: Nor ought it to be called immortal ; for if it is immortal , it is plainly unbegotten. Justin: It is both unbegotten and immortal , according to some who are styled Platonists. Old Man: You are right; for what reason has one for supposing that a body so solid, possessing resistance, composite, changeable, decaying, and renewed every day, has not arisen from some cause?

But if the world is begotten, souls also are necessarily begotten; and perhaps at one time they were not in existence , for they were made on account of men and other living creatures, if you will say that they have been begotten wholly apart, and not along with their respective bodies. Old Man: But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that were truly a piece of good fortune to the evil.

What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment.

Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished. Does it seem to you the very same can be said of the soul , and generally of all things? For those things which exist after God , or shall at any time exist, these have the nature of decay, and are such as may be blotted out and cease to exist; for God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, and therefore He is God , but all other things after Him are created and corruptible. For this reason souls both die and are punished: since, if they were unbegotten, they would neither sin , nor be filled with folly, nor be cowardly, and again ferocious; nor would they willingly transform into swine, and serpents, and dogs and it would not indeed be just to compel them, if they be unbegotten.

For that which is unbegotten is similar to, equal to, and the same with that which is unbegotten; and neither in power nor in honour should the one be preferred to the other, and hence there are not many things which are unbegotten: for if there were some difference between them, you would not discover the cause of the difference, though you searched for it; but after letting the mind ever wander to infinity, you would at length, wearied out, take your stand on one Unbegotten, and say that this is the Cause of all.

Did such escape the observation of Plato and Pythagoras, those wise men, who have been as a wall and fortress of philosophy to us? Old Man: It makes no matter to me whether Plato or Pythagoras, or, in short, any other man held such opinions. For the truth is so; and you would perceive it from this. The soul assuredly is or has life. If, then, it is life, it would cause something else, and not itself, to live, even as motion would move something else than itself.

Now, that the soul lives, no one would deny. But if it lives, it lives not as being life, but as the partaker of life; but that which partakes of anything, is different from that of which it does partake. Now the soul partakes of life, since God wills it to live. Thus, then, it will not even partake [of life] when God does not will it to live.

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For to live is not its attribute, as it is God's; but as a man does not live always, and the soul is not for ever conjoined with the body, since, whenever this harmony must be broken up, the soul leaves the body, and the man exists no longer; even so, whenever the soul must cease to exist, the spirit of life is removed from it, and there is no more soul , but it goes back to the place from whence it was taken. Justin: Should any one, then, employ a teacher?

Or whence may any one be helped, if not even in them there is truth? Old Man: There existed , long before this time, certain men more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers , both righteous and beloved by God , who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and which are now taking place. They are called prophets.

Beyond Edge

THE following Dialogue is an attempt to put forward, in popular form, the chief arguments from reason by which the existence of God is proved, and to show the . The Existence of God, A Dialogue in Three Chapters [Richard F. Clarke SJ] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Clarke's The Existence of.

These alone both saw and announced the truth to men , neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not influenced by a desire for glory , but speaking those things alone which they saw and which they heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Their writings are still extant, and he who has read them is very much helped in his knowledge of the beginning and end of things, and of those matters which the philosopher ought to know , provided he has believed them.

By means of the present document, the Church intends to offer a contribution of truth to the question of man's place in nature and in human society, a question faced by civilizations and cultures in which expressions of human wisdom are found. Rooted in a past that is often thousands of years old and manifesting themselves in forms of religion, philosophy and poetic genius of every time and of every people, these civilizations and cultures offer their own interpretation of the universe and of human society, and seek an understanding of existence and of the mystery that surrounds it.

Who am I? Why is there pain, evil, death, despite all the progress that has been made?

What is the value of so many accomplishments if the cost has been unbearable? What will there be after this life? These are the basic questions that characterize the course of human life[17]. The direction that human existence, society and history will take depends largely on the answers given to the questions of man's place in nature and society; the purpose of the present document is to make a contribution to these answers. The deepest meaning of human existence, in fact, is revealed in the free quest for that truth capable of giving direction and fullness to life.

The aforementioned questions incessantly draw human intelligence and the human will to this quest. They are the highest expression of human nature, since they require a response that measures the depth of an individual's commitment to his own existence. The fundamental questions accompanying the human journey from the very beginning take on even greater significance in our own day, because of the enormity of the challenges, the novelty of the situations and the importance of the decisions facing modern generations.

The first of the great challenges facing humanity today is that of the truth itself of the being who is man. The boundary and relation between nature, technology and morality are issues that decisively summon personal and collective responsibility with regard to the attitudes to adopt concerning what human beings are, what they are able to accomplish and what they should be.

A second challenge is found in the understanding and management of pluralism and differences at every level: in ways of thinking, moral choices, culture, religious affiliation, philosophy of human and social development.